"Begin at the Beginning and go on till you come to the End: then Stop."
- Lewis Carroll
IN THE BEGINNING
If you have know a professional actor, then you know that they probably spend a lot of time NOT acting, and feeling sad/frustrated/hurt/insert-any-negative-emotion about it. We LOVE being on stage but it is not always enjoyable to be at the whim of directors and casting agents. It is disheartening to audition for plays that you are not even sure you like. Time is precious, so why should we waste ours on things that don't make us happy? Therefore, one day in September 2013, we gathered our gumption and decided that we should take control of our happiness/artistic destinies and do something of our own. After several dinner parties disguised as planning meetings, thus began No Porpoise Productions.
When we decided to start producing, we had no idea how to do it or if we would even like it. We had a script that Katie had written back when she was teaching teen theatre with the Canadian Children's Theatre Company and we had ourselves and other actor friends. We brought Lynne and Sean on board to direct and we were off the races - the Caucus Race that is. We were suddenly wearing many hats as Artists and Producers (among other roles) and even more hats as our many characters which made it very difficult to keep from going completely mad as a hatter. Happily for us, that was in fact our happy place.
WHY A THEATRE COLLECTIVE?
Often we are asked why we aren't a company or what the difference is. As a theatre collective, we maintain a lot more freedom and independence in how we produce and what we produce. Once we decide to register as a business, there are a lot of rules in place that we’d have to follow: Profit or non-profit? Board of directors or stake-holding investors? Different rules regarding Equity and what contracts we are able to use, how much we are obligated to pay people and on what schedule. Different costs to set up a bank account… The list goes on. As a theatre collective, we make our decisions based on the needs of each production and budget, without answering to anyone but ourselves. We can stick to what is important to us and focus our energy on that instead of on what other organizations have decided is important. We get to pursue the initiatives we want and we share our profits equitably.
ADAPTING THE CLASSICS
We firmly believe that attracting audiences with classic stories they love helps to create a non-threatening invitation into the world of theatre for those who aren't familiar with it. We aspire to make our productions like Pixar movies: truly something for all ages. Our slapstick style of physicality entertains younger audiences like Saturday morning cartoons, and reminds older audiences of the golden greats like Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges. The word play is fun and challenging on several levels, linguistically and in its points of reference.
Adapting classics is more difficult than people give it credit. There is a fine line between being inventive and destroying something that people feel is sacred. The traditional role of fairy tales and myths was to teach children morals or important lessons, so what have these stories taught us personally? Beneath the slapstick and silliness, what life lessons of ours are we trying to express? Our inclination to these stories tells more about what we value in our lives than just what we find entertaining. That sounds a little porpoise-ful, doesn't it?